Friday, 27 September 2013

31 Day Challenge 2013 - 08 Metallic Nails

Although the rest of the blogsphere has raced off ahead into the final week of the challenge, I have only just gotten onto my 'second week' with the Metallic Nails prompt.

Under artificial light

This one was tough, since I have never really been drawn to metallic finishes and I have a limited collection of those. But I love the end result of this one! I used some gladwrap, or what is known as the saran wrap technique, to dab on colours after I painted my base colour.

The blue is a gorgeous one that I remembered my sister had contributed to our polish collection, then I found two complementary revlon silver and green (although they called it 'gold rush', it looks like a green tone to me). I used the blue as base on my index, middle and little fingers, as the silver as base on the thumb, but it didn't turn out that different. The 'gold' gave it a nice bit of extra depth.

Under sunlight through the window

All this was topped with a shiny top coat from Sally Hansen and the accent nail is the awesome Maybelline silver sequins. I then stuck on some matching blue rhinestones onto the accent nail. I think maybe I overdid it by putting on 4 on each nail — did it cross into tacky?

Everything I used, except the gladwrap, that I used.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

31 Day Challenge 2013 - 07 B&W Nails

In my mind, I think black and white, I think geometric shapes. But then I saw some bamboo print on the glass front of a Japanese restaurant and was inspired to do bamboo prints. And what goes with bamboo? Pandas!

And note that it took me almost a week to update. Yes, I did wear the violet nails for almost a week!

So after my usual OPI base, I used Mode's So Parisian. It's a new white I picked up from a sale bin a few weeks ago, but as usual, it's really sheer. I used about 4 coats here! I do love the white nail polish look though. I think it's time I invested in a nice opaque white like OPI's Alpine Snow for nail art, which is what I see so many nail bloggers use for white.

Lovely shot of both hands

The black was added with a black permanent marker and then everything was topped off with Revlon's Matte Top Coat. The eyes were tricky, and because I had redone them once, I was too impatient to wait for it to dry properly, hence the smudged eyes! Not enough white polish either, so the black is bleeding through and this morning, my right panda has blue eyes!

Closer look at my left hand

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Struggle to the finish line

I have touched on this earlier — how difficult these final few steps are. I am so close to finishing, and I would like to finish on a positive note, but at the same time I am completely demotivated.

I have a 6000 words essay due on the 30th September. Normally, by this time I would have a mostly complete, working draft. At the moment I am still just trawling through material, trying to get my head around some very new areas of law. I have no idea how I am going to write 6000 words and I'm only slowly pulling my head back out of the sand...

All journeys begin with the first step, all essays start with the first line... so tonight I have finally managed to write an introduction. Hopefully once I have made an attempt at articulating my question, I can start filling in with some substance.

The only bright note is that I spoke to two other classmates, and they seem to be stuck too. Misery loves a crowd? It just reassures me to know that I am not the only one struggling to put something together.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

31 Day Challenge 2013 06 – Violet Nails

I admittedly wasn't particularly inspired by this prompt. I didn't really feel like wearing purple, I wanted something light and spring-like! So I tried to keep this simple and added glitter for some fun and a cute owl. Despite how simple they look, it was still surprisingly time consuming to put the whole look together. 

I used my Ulta3 Spring Break (purple) and Finder's Keepers (chunky gold glitter topper )by Mode and fine gold glitter is my sister's Maybelline Redemption (I think it must have been purchased overseas). The pink is called Pinker than pink by Boe. All topped off with what you can see pictured in my hands, Sally Hansen Mega Shine top coat, which I picked up at the Chemist Warehouse sale yesterday. I picked up a few other things too, that may make an appearance online at some point.

Purple owl and glitter gradients

Friday, 13 September 2013

Getting sidetracked by mini Natio polishes and some Fuzzy Coat

I have developed a habit of walking into pharmacies that I go past to see what polishes they have, particularly if I see a bargin bin.

In today's bargain bin I found some of those Natio mini bottles for $2. I've been curious to try them, so I brought a couple. I was particularly excited to find a mint, called azure, and a moderately light pink, rose. I also purchased a bottle of Sally Hansen's Fuzz Sea, with was discounted to $7.

I was eager to try them, so thought I would use them as the base colour for my next 31 Day Challenge nail (violet). But I was so pleased with the colours that I decided to keep the base colours on its own for a day. Perfect for spring!

Alas, they were quite streaky and sheer, so it took quite a few coats. I was not patient enough to wait for each layer to dry and ended up with too thick polish that my quick dry couldn't quite dry...

Natio - Rose and Natio - Azure
 I also included a photo of the fuzzy coat that I took earlier in the day, on top of a coat of the Azure. The Azure made a great complementary base coat for the Fuzz Sea.

Sally Hansen Fuzzy Coat - Fuzz Sea over a coat of Azure

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

31 Day Challenge 2013 - 05 Blue Nails

I caught a cold over the weekend — my line has been that I caught it from some dirty Liberal (big L, as in the conservative Liberal party - go figure) at the polling station. More likely someone with a cold was preparing my food or coffee though. :(

Anyway, with a headache and pressing research paper due in a couple of weeks, I kept things simple for the blue nails prompt.

A random sheer pale blue my sister had, with the Maybelline Sapphire Siren for dotting and the base on the accent nail. Blue loose craft glitter and light blue studs on the accent nail also. Topped with Mavala Mavadry Fast Drying Nail Polish. I love that stuff.

 And the next day, with some sunlight

Then I decided to go fancy and use the SLR...

I originally conceived the manicure with the intention of using a matte top coat to finish it off. But it looked so shiny and glossy after I put the quick dry coat on, that decided to leave it. But I couldn't help myself, after wearing the blue mani for a day, I added the matte coat. I think it looks really good!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

31 Day Challenge 2013 - 04 Green Nails

The first time I attempted some half-moon nails, I ended up with a right ol' mess. I didn't have experience with taping and didn't let the first layer dry properly nor stick it down firmly.

Anyhow, I  have a whole box of hole protectors (am I the only one who thinks that sounds funny?) for my printed materials for Uni. So I gave it another go, this time waiting patiently and also cutting them in half so that they stuck on better and created a nice seal.

However, I made the mistake of choosing a jelly polish as the main colour, so it's not quite opaque despite 3 fairly thick layers (hey, it was a new polish that I hadn't used before!)

I used an old Revlon Lime polish and the Ulta3 Jelly (ok, it was named jelly, what did I expect?)

It wasn't planned, but it turns out today, 7 September, AKA federal election day, is the perfect day for me to have green nails to reflect my own personal political stance!

My right hand

For some reason, both my index fingers have wonky moons

Left hand

One day, I will put in a bit more effort and take photos with my nice camera... and try to do them during the day so I can photo under natural sunlight!

31 Day Challenge 2013 - 03 Yellow Nails

I actually don't have that much time to spare and I already spend way too much time painting my nails. So I went with a simple design, using my previous day's orange as the base. However, the result wasn't that great — I already quite a few coats on with the base, a lot of white, colours and top coat. I needed another 2-3 coats for the yellow to be opaque... so it was just thick and then it got smudged quite badly during the night.

But anyhow, here are some photos. I just used regular sticky tape to make the line.

Friday, 6 September 2013

The Perfect Soft-Boiled Egg

One of my ongoing breakfast quest is the perfect soft-boiled egg. I prefer my whites to be just cooked and my yolk to be running. This calls for precision timing. I generally use my eggo, but alas the need to measure water precisely means that I often end up with overcooked eggs when I get it wrong.

I'm currently on one based on Heston's soft-boiled eggs. But I've changed it so much it's probably not really that anymore. What I did in the following is cover eggs with water, put over my medium stove, low heat, turn off when the water boils, leave for a minute and then spoon out.

Using Heston's faithfully, I get the following from my stove.

The hardest part is patiently waiting for the water to boil and then turning it off straight away. I am not known for my patience, but I occupied my time with some push-ups, etc. As you can see, it's NOT soft-boiled. I may have let it sit a bit longer than the 6 minutes, but I think that's not the main problem. Maybe my stove didn't boil the water quickly enough?

I've had a few instances of undercooking the yolk, but I seem to be swinging too far the other way.

As you can see, it's an ongoing experiment. So far, the winning methods appears to be slowly bringing to boil and turn off and take out immediately.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

31 Day Challenge 2013 - 02 Orange Nails

I loved my challenge 1 red nails so much that I didn't want to take it off! It was only when the beads had come off in chunks that I decided to tackle the second challenge. Not helped was the fact that I wasn't particularly inspired by the orange nails prompt. I ended up going with something simple.

I used my nail art brushes for the first time, using a fan brush to sweep Ulta3's Carrot Top and a touch of the Honolulu on my B.pretty Vanilla base, which I bought from Bipa in Vienna. I really need to get a better white, this one is  too sheer and needs 3 or 4 coats. Might have to splash out on a nice OPI polish.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Cantonese-Style Carrot, Corn, Watercress and Pork Bones Broth Soup

For those of you have chinese friends, you may have encountered this staple. It's also one of my favourite chinese dishes (can soups be described as a dish?). It is so easy to make, the hardest part is waiting for it to become rich with favour! I like buying my bones and watercress from the monthly Farmer's Market, so it's nice and fresh!

Step 1: Pre-cook the bones so that the icky red bits can be cooked and rinsed off. My Mum likes to look it all the way through. We don't want floaters messing up our clear broth. I am not as fussed.

Step 2: Wash veggies, taking extra care with any dirt still attached to the watercress. Cut up carrot (peel if you like, it depends on how lazy I am feeling) and corn cob into smaller pieces.

Step 3: Put everything in pot. You may want to start with the bones and carrots first, and then add the corn and watercress. Don't add the watercress until the water is boiled (that's what my Mum tells me!)

Step 4: Once boiled, turn heat to low and let it simmer away for at least 4 hours! This is the hardest part, but the longer it simmers, the richer the favours are!